• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower

The Battle Against Pelosi Fascistic SOCIALISM!

TRUMP: “THE TWILIGHT HOUR OF SOCIALISM”

by Scott Johnson  at PowerLine:

President Trump has rejected the status quo ante in American foreign policy. He has rededicated the United States to the support of Israel. He has withdrawn the United States from the disgraceful deal with Iran. He has tightened the sanctions regime with the intent of disabling the mullahs. He has shaken up matters with the North Korean regime in the interest of putting their nuclear weapons program on the path of termination. He has now come out for the removal of the socialist dictator of Venezuela. I could multiply the examples, but you can fill in the blanks. In each of these cases, Trump is right and Obama was wrong.

Yesterday President Trump went to Florida International University in Miami to give a speech on Venezuela before a friendly and raucous audience. I am unable to find either the text or the video on the White House site. I have posted a news video of the speech in its entirety below. It is a gloriously Reaganite speech; it is a great speech. In it Trump stands for freedom against the forces of socialism, tyranny and immiseration.

Trump notes in the course of the speech that National Security Advisor John Bolton is in the house. Readers of Surrender Is Not An Option will infer that he had a hand in the speech. He is an old-fashioned conservative.

Trump is forcing the issue in Venezuela. The United States is on the right side. It is leading in the push to get Maduro out of there. Events are coming to a head. This speech is part of the pressure intended to produce a constructive outcome. It merits your attention.

The New York Times has a good account of the speech here, FOX News here, CNN here

Quotable quote: “The twilight hour of socialism has arrived in our hemisphere and frankly in many many places around the world. The days of socialism and communism are numbered, not only in Venezuela, but in Nicaragua and in Cuba as well.”

One more: “America will never be a socialist country.”

 

 

 

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/02/trump-the-twilight-hour-of-socialism.php

In Case You’ve Forgotten, President Donald J. Trump Opposes Murdering America’s Children to-Be!

Trump Slams Abortion, Infanticide in SOTU: “All Children, Born and Unborn, Made in the Image of God”

 …..
by Steven Ertelt   at LifeNews:                     Article sent by Mark Waldeland.

..

President Donald Trump gave a clear and forceful message on pro-life issues during the State of the Union Address tonight.

He slammed the governors of New York and Virginia for promoting abortion up to birth and infanticide. And he called for Congress to pass a ban on late-term abortions on babies who are capable of feeling pain.

There could be no greater contrast to the beautiful image of a mother holding her infant child than the chilling displays our nation saw in recent days.

Lawmakers in New York cheered with delight upon the passage of legislation that would allow a baby to be ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth. These are living, feeling, beautiful babies who will never get the chance to share their love and dreams with the world.

And then, we had the case of the governor of Virginia where he stated he would execute a baby after birth. To defend the dignity of every person, I am asking Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the late-term abortion of children who can feel pain in the mother’s womb.

Let us work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life.

And let us reaffirm a fundamental truth — all children — born and unborn— are made in the holy image of God.

In emails to LifeNews, pro-life groups praised the President:

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life:

We greatly appreciate the leadership President Trump has shown in advancing the cause for life during his time in office. Tonight, he used his State of the Union address to highlight the extremism of the pro-abortion agenda most recently and fully on display in New York and Virginia, and stressed the need for legislation like the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. President Trump has once again demonstrated the paramount importance of protecting mothers and their unborn children.

In response, Susan B. Anthony List praised President Trump’s remarks:

“Once again President Trump has proved he is our nation’s most pro-life president ever and he is keeping his promise to the voters who fueled his victory,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The contrast between President Trump’s vision for the future and that of the Democratic Party, now dominated by abortion extremists, is stark. Senate Democrats had the chance yesterday to prove they are not the party of infanticide, and instead they doubled down on a radical agenda of abortion on demand through birth and even beyond. That position that is simply irreconcilable with the values of the American people. We ask Congress to heed President Trump’s request, and to send the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act to his desk without delay. This popular, compassionate legislation would protect unborn babies after five months – more than halfway through pregnancy, and a point at least by which these children can feel the pain of abortion.”

“The greatness of our nation is defined by the way we treat the most innocent and vulnerable among us, and the time for choosing is more pivotal than ever. All decent Americans must stand up, speak out, and defeat abortion extremism at the ballot box in 2020.”

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins:

“Never before has the contrast between the two parties been more clear, as there seems to be no line that the Democratic Party will draw when it comes to protecting either life in the womb or the health of women in abortion facilities. And as we saw with Pelosi’s guest, Planned Parenthood has friends in government as it draws in more than half-a-billion in taxpayer dollars.

“President Trump’s comments in support of life are an important call to action for all of us. I applaud him for using the bully pulpit to celebrate life.”

Share this story:

https://www.lifenews.com/2019/02/05/trump-slams-abortion-infanticide-in-sotu-all-children-born-and-unborn-made-in-the-image-of-god/

Never Forget the 10 Hours of Leftist Fascism at Canada’s CBC, 11-8-16!!!

Hillary’s FBI Fascists Exposed in Coup Attempt to make President Trump Disappear

Coup Kook A Choo: McCabe Admits Pushing 25th Amendment To Remove Trump After Comey Firing

Did the “highest levels” of the Department of Justice attempt to foment a coup d’etat in May 2017? Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe told Scott Pelley that he quarterbacked a meeting to discuss removing Donald Trump from office after the president fired James Comey. In the interview, which will air on 60 Minutes this Sunday, McCabe says that the participants in the meeting included Rod Rosenstein and other less-senior officers in the Department of Justice and got to the point of “counting noses” to see whether invoking the 25th Amendment would succeed:

SEE ALSO: Big Apple moves to approve driver’s licenses for illegals

Embedded video

Norah O’Donnell🇺🇸

@NorahODonnell

.@ScottPelley on what McCabe told @60Minutes: “There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment.”

“The most illuminating and surprising thing in the interview to me were these eight days in May when all of these things were happening behind the scenes that the American people really didn’t know about,” Pelley said on the show.

“There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment,” Pelley said. “These were the eight days from Comey’s firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what do with the president.”

That’s some kind of admission — and McCabe may not realize how that looks. In his book, he probably casts this as some kind of attempt to deal with a rogue president, likely with himself as a hero. However, I’m checking my copy of the Constitution and can’t quite find where it says that the Department of Justice and the FBI has any role in the 25th Amendment process for removing an incapacitated president. Here’s the text of the relevant portion of the amendment:

4. Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Talk about getting out over your own skis. “Principal officers of the executive departments” are the Cabinet officials themselves, not their subordinates. McCabe at the time was temporarily FBI director, an inferior officer to the Attorney General. So for that matter is Rod Rosenstein as a deputy AG. McCabe claims they were “counting noses” among the Cabinet members without ever bothering to raise the issue directly with any of them. The discussion McCabe describes would have been entirely inappropriate at best, not to mention constitutionally offensive and an abuse of power.

At worst … well …

.@ScottPelley on what McCabe told @60Minutes: “There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment.”

Embedded video

Also, McCabe shivs Rosenstein a bit as well. Rosenstein said last fall that any suggestion of wearing a wire when talking with the president was a jokeNuh-uh, McCabe told Pelley:

Pelley said McCabe confirms in their interview that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein considered wearing a wire in meetings with President Trump. Previously, a Justice Department statement claimed that Rosenstein made the offer sarcastically, but McCabe said it was taken seriously.

“McCabe in [the 60 Minutes] interview says no, it came up more than once and it was so serious that he took it to the lawyers at the FBI to discuss it,” Pelley told “CBS This Morning.”

At least we know for sure who sourced the NYT on the meeting last September. Melissa Schwartz denied that McCabe or anyone associated with him provided her the material, but who else had enough of an axe to grind to leak that story?

By the way, McCabe also takes credit for starting the obstruction probeagainst Trump. McCabe claims he wanted to lay down a marker in case Trump fired anyone else:

“I was speaking to the man who had just … won the election for the presidency and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia.” Former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe, Sunday on 60 Minutes. https://cbsn.ws/2Ebedpk 

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said he ordered an investigation into whether President Donald Trump obstructed justice as a way to preserve ongoing inquiries into Russian election meddling in case there was an effort to terminate them.

“I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground and if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they made that decision,” McCabe told Scott Pelley on “CBS This Morning” in an interview that aired Thursday.

At least that much was in McCabe’s authority. After this, though, it’s clear why McCabe needed to be fired, even apart from his other issues.

https://hotair.com/archives/2019/02/14/mccabe-better-believe-discussed-using-25th-amendment-remove-trump-comey-firing/

The Smiley Ocasio-Cortex Fascistics in Action

The Democrats: The Party of Kremlin Dreamers

by Alexander G. Markovsky  at American Thinker:

 

In 1920 British writer H.G. Wells visited Russia and interviewed Vladimir Lenin in the Kremlin, where they discussed the future of socialist Russia. In the aftermath of his visit, Wells wrote an insightful book, Russia in the Shadows, in which he called Lenin “The Kremlin Dreamer.”

One hundred years later a major American political party of Kremlin dreamers is recycling the familiar Marxist arguments against capitalism and pointedly spinning Lenin’s fairy tales here in the United States.

As this neo-socialist movement gathers momentum and the slogans of the Bolshevik revolution are reverberating from coast to coast, the millions of disaffected dupes and untutored casualties of the American education system can’t wait to set this country ablaze to fulfill a heady gospel of Marxism constructed on hopes, myths, and grandiose lies. Antagonistic to a social order at the apex of which stands freedom, socialism requires a form of behavior that cannot sustain itself and therefore necessitates enforcement — which is, in fact, tyranny.

In his acceptance speech for the 1970 Nobel Prize in literature, Alexander Solzhenitsyn colorfully described the interdependence between lies and tyranny:

We should not forget that tyranny does not exist alone and cannot exist alone: it is inevitably interwoven with lie. Between them is the most virtual, the deepest of natural bonds: tyranny has no other cover but lie, and lie cannot be sustained without tyranny.

The first phase of the ideological assault embodies a combination of myths and fictions. Myths represent the theological aspect of the socialist religion — the source of conviction for true believers. The “fictions” are to condition the masses to repel reason and accept a set of beliefs that the masses will regard as positive in support of an egalitarian hierarchy of values.

Lies have acquired the status of policies that have international and domestic implications. In many instances they are so far outside the realm of objective reality that it feels as if we have reached the threshold of forsaking common sense and reason. The most bizarre and ridiculous arguments are brought forward in support of insane policies, and are taken seriously when a brain MRI or an examination by a psychiatrist is in order: a wall would not protect our borders, voter IDs disenfranchise voters, businesses do not produce jobs, economic inequality is an impediment to prosperity, spreading the wealth around is good for everybody, including those whose wealth will be spread around, etc. The more outrageous and more bizarre the ideas are, the more media coverage they get.

The multifaceted deception may take the form of “scientific” theories such as Keynesian economics, human impact on climate change, a universal basic income, or actions taken presumably for the common good such as mass migration from Latin American countries. All of those policies and actions have one thing in common: to abrogate the laws of nature and economics to implement the sweeping ideas of the Democratic Party’s political and economic transformation to socialism.

It gets to the point that people become allergic to the truth. It is near impossible to admit that we are ignorant, stupid, and naïve. It is extremely painful to concede that we have been duped by the media, elected officials, and illiterate policymakers who betrayed our trust and acquired power through quackery, lies, and election fraud.

Those who remain sane and apprehend its nature, and oppose it with all their might and fury, are being viciously attacked by the mainstream media, whose opposition to capitalism and individual liberty is a permanent part of its ideological persuasion.

At this writing, at least half of the country is already being conditioned for the second phase of transition to socialism — tyranny, while the other half witnesses it passively behind the ramparts of ignorance.

We should ask ourselves; has the isolation from the world’s turmoil that America has enjoyed over the past 250 years inhibited our capacity to understand the vulnerabilities of our republic and the fragility of constitutional restraints? Has the socialist maleficent corroded our values and impaired our ability to recognize the danger before us? Have we lost what Alexander Solzhenitsyn called “the measure of freedom?”

Alexander G. Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think hosted at King’s College, New York City, which examines national security, energy, risk-analysis and other public policy issues, He is the author of “Anatomy of a Bolshevik” and “Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It.” He is the owner and CEO of Litwin Management Services, LLC. He can be reached at info@litwinms.com

Alexander G. Markovsky is a senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research, a conservative think hosted at King’s College, New York City, which examines national security, energy, risk-analysis and other public policy issues, He is the author of “Anatomy of a Bolshevik” and “Liberal Bolshevism: America Did Not Defeat Communism, She Adopted It.” He is the owner and CEO of Litwin Management Services, LLC. He can be reached at info@litwinms.com

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/02/the_democrats_the_party_of_kremlin_dreamers.html

Ditsy Dem-Warren Declares Aborting a Baby a Mere Tonsil Removal.

Elizabeth Warren Compares Abortion to “Getting Your Tonsils Out”

 by    Micaiah Bilger  at  LifeNews:        Article sent by Mark Waldeland:

Sen. Elizabeth Warren recycled age-old, debunked talking points on abortion this week to urge opposition to U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

A pro-abortion Democrat from Massachusetts, Warren even likened the killing of an unborn baby in an abortion to getting tonsils removed.

“We cannot go back to the time of back-alley abortions,” she wrote Wednesday. “But that could happen if Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court and helps overturn Roe v. Wade. We must #StopKavanaugh — the lives and futures of countless American women are at stake.”

Tens of millions of unborn women’s lives have been destroyed because of Roe v. Wade, but Warren ignored how an abortion kills an innocent, unique human life.

In a column for the women’s magazine Marie Claire, Warren said Kavanaugh could be the deciding vote to overturn Roe, and claimed women would suffer if that happens.

“When abortions are illegal, women don’t stop getting them— they just risk their lives to do it,” Warren wrote. “Today, thanks to Roe, getting an abortion is safer than getting your tonsils out. Before Roe v. Wade, many women turned to back-alley butchers to end their pregnancies.”

Warren is completely wrong on several points. First, an abortion is never a safe procedure, and it cannot be compared to any other common medical procedure, such as a tonsillectomy. Its very purpose is to kill a unique, living unborn baby, and about 60 million of them have been killed in abortions since Roe.

And, according to Planned Parenthood and the Guttmacher Institute, most women did not seek back alley abortions prior to Roe.

In 1960, Dr. Mary Calderone, the medical director of Planned Parenthood, wrote in the American Journal of Public Health:

“… about 90 percent of all illegal abortions are presently being done by physicians…Whatever trouble arises usually arises from self-induced abortions, which comprise approximately 8 percent, or with the very small percentage that go to some kind of non-medical abortionist…So remember…abortion, whether therapeutic or illegal, is in the main no longer dangerous, because it is being done well by physicians.”

Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist and co-founder of NARAL, also later admitted that their “statistics” about back alley abortions were false.

Nathanson said his organization often claimed between 5,000 and 10,000 women died every year from dangerous, back alley abortions and argued that legalizing abortions would protect women.

He wrote: “I confess that I knew that the figures were totally false and I suppose that others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the ‘morality’ of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted … The overriding concern was to get the laws eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible.”

Actual government statistic prior to the Roe decision show nowhere near 1.2 million women (or even 200,000) died in abortions. A 1972 Center for Disease Control report noted the maternal death rate from abortions was 39 in the United States, the year prior to Roe.

And legalizing Roe hasn’t made it safer. CDC reports indicate women still die from legal, supposedly “safe” abortions. As of 2008, the CDC reported more than 400 women died from legal abortions in the United States, including 12 that year. The most recent annual report from the CDC says four women died from abortion complications in 2013.

If Warren truly cared about women, she would fight against abortion, which destroys babies’ lives and often injures their mothers.

DO FASCISTIC DEMS RULE TODAY’S AMERICAN PRESS, OR ARE THEY ONLY RENTING?

THE BIGGEST THREAT TO PRESS FREEDOM IS MEDIA ITSELF!
Major media organizations are about to be sued for irresponsibly turning innocent Covington Catholic school boys into objects of national hatred. A lack of standards threatens to open the media to all kinds of legal liabilities.
..

By Mark Hemingway  at the Federalist:

While the outrage over the Covington high school kids in MAGA hats may have blown over online, the story is far from over. On February 1, an attorney retained by the family of Nicholas Sandmann, the 16-year-old who allegedly “smirked” at the Native American activist banging a drum in his face, released a video that succinctly explained the broader context of what happened. Suffice to say, the video is a damning indictment of how many media outlets and personalities led a social media-fueled outrage mob and wrongly rushed to smear Sandmann and his fellow students.

On Monday, Sandmann’s legal team told the Cincinnati Enquirer that more than 50 letters had been sent to various organizations and people that are likely to precede defamation and libel lawsuits. A host of elite media outlets received some of these letters, including The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, The Atlantic, TMZ, National Public Radio, The Guardian, and Conde Nast. A number of prominent reporters also received letters individually, such as Maggie Haberman, Chuck Todd, Savannah Guthrie, Erin Burnett, David Brooks, and Andrea Mitchell, among others.

Media organizations and reporters have traditionally been given extremely wide latitude by courts in the name of protecting free speech, so at first glance it may seem absurd to sue America’s biggest media organizations en masse for defamation and libel. But for those who have been paying attention, for decades now, courts have been trying to balance privacy concerns with rapidly evolving technology that allows for dissemination of information at a rate that far outpaces editorial judgment. Far from endorsing a maximalist vision of what journalists are allowed to get away with, relevant court decisions have trended toward winnowing the definition of what journalists are allowed to print.

Further, the people wronged by the media in the Covington case were not public figures who have to clear a high legal bar of proving actual malice. They were, in fact, children. Further, a majority of the public distrusts the media — and that distrust didn’t start in 2016, despite the media trying to define this distrust as a wholly Trump-related phenomenon.

To the extent that politicized charges of “fake news” do enter the picture, can anyone honestly say there isn’t good reason to suggest that elite media are overwhelmingly biased against certain political and religious viewpoints? The media response to public anger at the media thus far amounts to little more than a condescending chorus of complaints that half the country doesn’t know “the facts” and lacks the sophistication to appreciate the editorial worldview being foisted on them.

But that flippant dismissal could have painful consequences for the media, because media protections ultimately depend on a societal consensus that they are working in the public interest. Put another way, if you were a lawyer who had to represent CNN and The New York Times in the Covington case, how apprehensive would you be about defending the honor and integrity of the media before a Kentucky jury?

The incident with the Covington high school students could well prove to be a perfect storm that forever reshapes how we view media rights and responsibilities, as well as the consequences of social media mobs. At the bottom of the Covington case is a truth the media don’t want to confront: The greatest threat to First Amendment freedoms might be irresponsible journalists.

Eroding Consensus on Press Freedoms

You don’t have to take my word for it. In 2015, Tulane law professor Amy Gajda wrote “The First Amendment Bubble: How Privacy and Paparazzi Threaten a Free Press.” “In an age when news, entertainment, and new media outlets are constantly pushing the envelope of acceptable content, the consensus over press freedoms is eroding. The First Amendment Bubble examines how unbridled media are endangering the constitutional privileges journalists gained in the past century,” notes the book’s jacket copy.

For decades, judges have generally affirmed that individual privacy takes a back seat to the public’s right to know. But the growth of the Internet and the resulting market pressures on traditional journalism have made it ever harder to distinguish public from private, news from titillation, journalists from provocateurs. Is a television program that outs criminals or a website that posts salacious videos entitled to First Amendment protections based on newsworthiness? U.S. courts are increasingly inclined to answer no, demonstrating new resolve in protecting individuals from invasive media scrutiny and enforcing their own sense of the proper boundaries of news.

Indeed, journalists should be required to read Gajda’s book. If they did, they would probably be mortified to discover that skirting the fringes of libel and defamation has become standard operating procedure for their entire industry.

Ramping up in the 1990s, there was a litany of cases where courts ruled against media on privacy grounds. Some of these cases involve very sympathetic plaintiffs, and one might understand where, say, the distressed mother of a murder victim who did not want to be quoted might be shown deference over Chicago Tribune reporters, as happened in one case. On the other hand, courts also been more than willing to smack the press for violating the privacy rights of people whose behavior might court attention, such as swingers, psychics, women who flash their breasts in public, and men who appear on “To Catch a Predator.”

The simultaneous rise of the internet has caused media to stretch arguments for newsworthiness until they break. In the book, Gajda delves into plenty of legalities involving specific cases, but notes that the cases where newsworthiness has been regularly disputed by courts “can be grouped into five main categories, included here as an overview before a closer look at specific causes of action: (1) those in which the disputed information shows, to this author’s mind, clear newsworthiness; (2) relatedly, those involving information concerning public wrongs; (3) those that seem a response to push-the-envelope media; (4) those involving celebrities in some way; and (5) those involving nudity.”

Now think about how much content online, especially on social media, falls into one or more of those categories where the “newsworthiness” is far from clear. And it’s not like there haven’t been warning signs that juries are more than willing to put entire media organizations on blast.

Gajda spends a fair amount of her book discussing various controversies involving the website Gawker—again, the publication was called “Gawker” as if announcing it specialized in exactly the kind of content that courts found increasingly hard to justify. At the time “The First Amendment Bubble” was published, the lawsuit over their decision to publish Hulk Hogan’s sex tape, which was filmed without his knowledge, had yet to be resolved.

As we now know, a jury slapped Gawker with a fine so large the publication was shuttered. This should have been a warning shot across the bow for the media writ large. Instead, we’ve seen even the prestige media outlets that purport to have higher standards than the tabloid-esque Gawker ramp up the sensationalism, increase partisanship, and willingly bully ordinary people.

‘Actual Malice’

Here some political context behind modern libel law is in order. While the First Amendment generally provides very wide latitude for the press, the more proximate reason why there are so few libel lawsuits in modern America, as opposed to, say, the United Kingdom, is New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. This is the 1964 Supreme Court case that established the “actual malice” standard, which raised the bar for public figures looking to sue the media.

The case arose because hundreds of millions of lawsuits had been filed in the South seeking to silence out-of-state media outlets that were aggressively covering the civil rights movement, and it’s fair to say that libel and defamation lawsuits were being used to prevent media from shining a critical light on institutional racism.

More specifically, the “Sullivan” in New York Times Co. v. Sullivan was a Montgomery, Alabama public official suing The New York Times for running an ad that sought to raise funds for Martin Luther King Jr.’s legal defense and the civil rights movement. The ad was wrong in some particulars—King had only been arrested four times, not seven times as the Times ad alleged—but the general sentiment that King was being harassed was obviously correct.

Still, you can see where lawsuits such as this could portend big problems for the media. Politicians and public officials with access to the public coffers could bankroll lawsuits indefinitely in ways that could break many journalism outlets, or at least those that have fewer resources than The New York Times. So the Supreme Court made it so that public figures would have to clear a high bar to justify libel and defamation lawsuits—they couldn’t just file suit because a paper got minor details wrong, they had to prove the publication was reckless or had a personal or institutional vendetta. This helped establish a balance of power between the public officials and other powerful public figures the media is obligated to cover and hold accountable.

That balance of power mostly held for decades. But what no one foresaw, and perhaps should have, is that the media would eventually abandon the pretense of “objective journalism” and their role as a conduit for the people. Instead, the press is using the legal deference and protections afforded them as a shield to drive their political agenda on a very broad cross-section of ideas, none of which approach the moral clarity of racial injustice in Alabama in 1964. Instead of politicians and powerful public figures abusing their power to go after the media, we now have media going after them, and often without provocation.

And the media writ large is so zealously invested in their self-righteousness that they are no longer able to restrain themselves when even the lowliest of private citizens is seen as an impediment to them forcing political and cultural consensus on the country. That’s how we got much of the media establishment punching down on a teenager whose only crime was wearing a baseball cap supportive of a duly elected president.

In point of fact, the media figures and publications who led this two minutes’ hate are supposed to be people among us who set an example of restraint. They are professionally obligated and trained on how to reserve judgment and wait for the facts to emerge, but time and again they are proving incapable of doing that.

Further, 16-year-old Sandmann doesn’t begin to meet any reasonable definition of a “public figure,” so the basic protection against libel and defamation that so many in the media bank on doesn’t apply here. There’s a real chance that some media entities get taken to the cleaners in his lawsuit, and it’s hard to imagine what their defense will be.

Testing the Norms of Objectivity

Even with Sandmann’s lawsuit preceding, there might be a temptation for the media to dismiss this all as a bout of unfortunate hysteria. They will still feel secure going after Donald Trump and the other disagreeable public figures, content that they’re still protected by New York Times Co. v. Sullivan. This is probably also a big mistake, seeing as the broader standards of what constitutes “actual malice” are still significantly defined by cultural and political consensus. And that consensus is fraying, big time.

For one thing, the “actual malice” standard isn’t only defined by proving someone deliberately published falsehoods. It can also be a result of exhibiting a “reckless disregard for the truth.” The actual malice standard can also be established by circumstantial evidence. You don’t need a smoking gun where an editor or reporter admits he lied to hurt someone. With that in mind, let’s look at the reporting standards the media have embraced in recent years, as embodied by a couple of notable media screw-ups.

In December 2017, CNN reported that Donald Trump Jr. received an email giving him the hacked Democratic National Committee emails released by WikiLeaks before they were public. MSNBC and CBS “independently” confirmed the story. It was later revealed that the date on the email was wrong, and Donald Trump Jr. didn’t get the emails before they were public.

CNN eventually revealed they never saw the original email, and based on the very lawyerly and suspect denials issued, it appears that the anonymous sources who gave CNN the story, as well as confirming it to MSNBC and CBS, were Democratic partisans from the House intel committee. CNN did not discipline the reporters who botched the story. There was no formal retraction. Instead, CNN rewrote the story so it was an inane recounting of how Donald Trump Jr. got an email about a big news event.

Last month, BuzzFeed issued a bombshell report about the president suborning perjury from his lawyer, who is cooperating with the special counsel investigation into the president. After the report the special counsel’s office took the unusual step of denying the report. Of the two reporters on the story, only one claims to have seen documents supporting the report — and he has an extensive history of fabulism.

Now I went to journalism school, albeit over 20 years ago, and I was under the impression that it was highly unethical to publish anonymously sourced stories based entirely on the word of sources with obvious political axes to grind without seeing any corroborating evidence. I was also taught that the idea that you could accuse anyone of a felony, much less the president of the United States, without producing any supporting documentation to back your claims up was likely grounds to have an editor fire you on the spot. Now major media do these things almost on reflex.

These are just two of many, many examples of media malpractice since Trump took office where the “bombshell” report blows up in the journalists’ faces. Instead of reflecting on how they’re abandoning basic standards and making an unprecedented number of astonishing errors, there has been a raft of navel-gazing from media types about how Trump’s hyperbolic style and falsehoods essentially justify throwing caution to the wind and covering him as aggressively as possible.

Journalists haven’t been shy about acknowledging what’s happening. “If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?” wrote New York Times media columnist Jim Rutenberg, a few months prior to Trump’s election. “Because if you believe all of those things, you have to throw out the textbook American journalism has been using for the better part of the past half-century.” At this point, however, there’s a strong case to be made that the decision, in the words of The New York Times, to test “the norms of objectivity” has ultimately hurt their ability to hold Trump accountable.

Aside from further intensifying public distrust, the media’s defensiveness is shortsighted for a couple of important reasons. One is that when an industry is widely perceived not to be living up to its own ethical guidelines, it’s not hard to imagine courts and juries will start deciding that this behavior is, at a minimum, reckless.

There’s no guarantee the courts won’t look at all journalists’ egregious behavior and decide to readjust libel law in such a way that shifts the balance of power away from journalists and provides more deference to the government and public figures. Notably, such a shift was being hinted at long before the phrase “President Donald J. Trump” roiled newsrooms.

In 2014, Sullivan was already starting to look like little more than an “interesting cultural artifact,” observed Columbia law professor David Pozen:

‘There is still a tendency among members of the media to view the courts in somewhat romantic terms as natural allies and guardians against overreaching by the political branches,’ he says. ‘I’m not confident that remains a descriptively accurate view of the courts.’

‘Courts have pulled back on the reporter’s privilege, generally in the national security concept,’ adds Pozen. ‘It’s not at all clear that judges will be protective of journalists’ interests in light of the way judges have handled recent national-security-versus-open-government issues.’

The second is that the press won’t have Trump to kick around forever. When you look at the media problems of the Trump era—the errors all uniformly cut in one political direction, the over-reliance on compromised sources, the refusal to make basic corrections and retractions, the eagerness to grant anonymity to anyone airing damaging and wholly speculative claims, and so on—these are all existing problems that Trump merely accelerated. It appears that the entire journalism industry is establishing norms that could soon be defined as running afoul of libel law.

When CNN fired three journalists in 2017 for their handling of a story on Trump confidant Anthony Scaramucci—one of very few times where a major journalistic error covering the Trump administration met actual newsroom punishment—CNN doesn’t appear to have been motivated to action in order to protect their integrity. The network was staring down the barrel of a $100 million lawsuit as the result of the story.

The message the media should be receiving right now couldn’t be clearer: Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Never Tweet

The final ingredient cooking up this hellbroth is social media. The cultural toxicity of social media is coming to be generally acknowledged, and why media remain somewhat uniquely oblivious to how Twitter in particular is destroying their cr

 

http://thefederalist.com/2019/02/08/the-biggest-threat-to-press-freedom-is-the-media-itself/